D&D 5E The Solution to Perception?

Shiroiken

Legend
If a roll is needed at all, I call for Investigation or Perception for traps, then Investigation (again, if needed) to figure out how the trap works before it can be disabled. For secret doors, it's Perception to find it, then Investigation to figure out how to open it, if a roll is necessary. Each task takes about 10 minutes, so a given trap interaction can take about 30 minutes of in-game time, and secret doors about 20 minutes.

So we might see the rogue or the cleric or even the wizard out front searching for traps (though the wizard tends not to be so brave!).
I found it much easier to break things down into obvious vs. non-obvious hazards, both being different travel activities. You use perception to find hidden things that are obviously hazards, such as tripwires and hidden creatures. You use investigation to realize that some obvious thing is important, such as more dust on a section of floor (trigger plate) or off colored stones on the wall (secret door). Occasionally I'll require both to be successful, and other times its a Nature or Survival check instead. It takes a lot away from the over reliance on wisdom & perception and boosts intelligence & investigation.
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
IMX, the DM would pick whichever one they felt was more appropriate in the given circumstance. While over granularity can be a problem, I think splitting them up in this case is actually a solution to the OPs complaint. If you think the fact that ~30% of the skill checks in Critical Role is a problem, wouldn't it be better if that was 15% Spot and 15% Listen?

The bigger problem in 5e with skill granularity isn't that it's hard to adjudicate, IMNSHO, it's that players don't get to pick enough skills. In 3e, a Rogue got to pick 8+Int modifier skills. In 5e it's four. Obviously, if a 5e rogue had to spend skills on both Spot and Listen it would be more of a problem than for a 3e rogue. But I would rather 5e players have 4x the skill points they get now and 10x the available skills to choose from. And bringing Int back into the mix would solve the problem of it being a dump stat.


Then again, I also grew up with the WEG d6 system. Where everything from shooting to will saves to sewing were all based on the same skill system, and you had to choose how to split your advancement pips between all three.
This so much yea. 5e does a terrible job here so you wind up with a tiny handful of SSS tier skills like perception and the GM simply can't use other skills or houserule around it because there just aren't enough skills & not enough skill choices. Any attempt to fix the problem a few folks are unjustly blaming on GMs would likely result in revolt & outrage from players feeling nerfed because suddenly they couldn't do everything or it's a zero sum change for the sake of change like more skills to choose from but more choices
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
This so much yea. 5e does a terrible job here so you wind up with a tiny handful of SSS tier skills like perception and the GM simply can't use other skills or houserule around it because there just aren't enough skills & not enough skill choices. Any attempt to fix the problem a few folks are unjustly blaming on GMs would likely result in revolt & outrage from players feeling nerfed because suddenly they couldn't do everything or it's a zero sum change for the sake of change like more skills to choose from but more choices
You don't really need skills do stuff though. It just makes it a bit easier.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
You don't really need skills do stuff though. It just makes it a bit easier.
That nay be so but 5e is built with a skill system more like 3.x minus the framework it had in 3.x to support it than the 1e/2e style skill system you are indicating . The result is a skill system too crunchy & in the way for 1e/2e style that simultaniously fails to support the GM with the tools needed to leverage it well
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
That nay be so but 5e is built with a skill system more like 3.x minus the framework it had in 3.x to support it than the 1e/2e style skill system you are indicating . The result is a skill system too crunchy & in the way for 1e/2e style that simultaniously fails to support the GM with the tools needed to leverage it well
I'm not "indicating" anything and there's really no need to consider other systems when looking at D&D 5e's skills in my view. You can try anything. If that outcome is in doubt, the DM has you roll an ability check. If you have a skill or tool proficiency that applies, add it. What is there to leverage other than the player says something they want to try and the DM adjudicates?
 

ECMO3

Hero
The above post in another thread got me thinking which I'm sure we've debated before on Enworld and other places.

Why not just remove Perception as skill? It is the 'must-have' skill of skills. I remember in 3.x it felt silly (to me) to spend skill points in Perception for something every adventurer should have. In 5e if you are proficient and have a decent wisdom it makes traps kinda meh. But that likely is an issue with the short-hand mechanic for traps (Separate topic me thinks).
Anyways going forward, I think I'm going to nix the skill and rather add some others. You can still roll for Perception you just won't need to spend a proficiency slot in it.
The issue then shifts to Stealthy characters being able to sneak up easily on Perceptionless PCs for that easy surprise attack. I have no problem with Stealthy monsters sneaking up on PCs. That is their fortè and we should give them that.

My thinking is, we just need to be more vigilant of the effects of armour, items carried and the environment (i.e. walking on old wooden floorboards...etc) have on one's Stealth.
To note, if Perception is not a skill you cannot have Expertise in it.

You can also homebrew the Alert Feat to be
  • You gain +5 bonus to initiative.
  • You can’t be surprised while you are conscious. (I dislike these kind of absolutes)
  • You gain your proficiency bonus on Perception checks.
  • Other creatures don’t gain advantage on attack rolls against you as a result of being unseen by you.

Is it workable, what am I missing?

I really like Perception being a skill, particuarly when counterbalanced against investigation and stealth. I find how DMs use investigation makes perception godlike or just great.

If you are going to scout you are going to need a high perception, high investigation and high stealth to be effective. By spreading this across 3 different abilities makes it difficult to be great at all of them.

As you sneak down the hall and quietly past the guards (Stealth), you notice the tiles on the floor ahead are a slightly different color (perception), on examination you discover it is a pressure plate that causes a poison needle to shoot from the wall (investigation).

Your chance of making all 3 of those checks is small unless you have really great skills, and if you do it is because you either rolled awesome abilities or you invested in expertise to get them, giving up other options. If you miss one of those checks you are kind of at a loss. Miss the stealth and the Jig is up, make stealth but miss the perception and you set off the trap ... and the jig is up, .... make stealth, make perception and miss investigation ..... well you have to decide to continue.

Add in things like deception if the guards notice you, or slight of hand to lift the keys off the peg without making a noise and you see most of the skills have their place.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I'm not "indicating" anything and there's really no need to consider other systems when looking at D&D 5e's skills in my view. You can try anything. If that outcome is in doubt, the DM has you roll an ability check. If you have a skill or tool proficiency that applies, add it. What is there to leverage other than the player says something they want to try and the DM adjudicates?
The existence of & lack of specific rules imposes constraints on what the system encourages & discourages. the 5e skill system is problematic for both styles without striking out in a new direction of its own because so much focus is devoted to ensuring that 5e aggressively avoids being good at any particular style
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
The existence of & lack of specific rules imposes constraints on what the system encourages & discourages. the 5e skill system is problematic for both styles without striking out in a new direction of its own because so much focus is devoted to ensuring that 5e aggressively avoids being good at any particular style
Being that as a product I believe it's meant to capture the most amount of people, then... mission accomplished?
 

Reynard

Legend
I'm not "indicating" anything and there's really no need to consider other systems when looking at D&D 5e's skills in my view. You can try anything. If that outcome is in doubt, the DM has you roll an ability check. If you have a skill or tool proficiency that applies, add it. What is there to leverage other than the player says something they want to try and the DM adjudicates?
My various groups of GenXers still struggle with "can we do that untrained?"
 


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